- About the Author
Many men dream of running away to a tropical island and living surrounded by beauty and exotic exuberance. Walter Spies did more than dream. He actually did it. In the 1920s and 30s, Walter Spies — ethnographer, choreographer, film maker, natural historian and painter — transformed the perception of Bali from that of a remote island to become the site for Western fantasies about Paradise and it underwent an influx of foreign visitors. The rich and famous flocked to Spies’ house in Ubud and his life and work forged a link between serious academics and the visionaries from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Miguel Covarrubias, Vicki Baum, Barbara Hutton and many others sought to experience the vision Spies offered while Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, the foremost anthropologists of their day, attempted to capture the secret of this tantalizing and enigmatic culture. Island of Demons is a fascinating historical novel, mixing anthropology, the history of ideas and humour. It offers a unique insight into that complex and multi-hued world that was so soon to be swept away, exploring both its ideas and the larger than life characters that inhabited it.
Nigel Barley was born in Kingston upon Thames in 1947. He gained his bachelor's degree in modern languages at Cambridge University, and his doctorate in social anthropology at Oxford University. He worked for some years as an academic at London University and then served from 1980 to 2003 as an assistant keeper of Ethnography at the British Museum.
Barley's first travel book, The Innocent Anthropologist (1983), gave a popular account of anthropological fieldwork among the Dowayo people of Cameroon. Barley then worked as an anthropologist in Indonesia. His first book based on his time there was the humorous Not a Hazardous Sport (1989) describing his anthropological experiences in Tana Toraja in the mountains of central Sulawesi.
Barley has written on many other subjects including Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, and Sir James Brooke, the "white rajah" of Sarawak. He has been twice nominated for the Travelex Writer of the Year Award. In 2002, he won the Foreign Press Association prize for travel writing.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 392
Year Published: 2007